In the Umerkot district of Pakistan, Prema lives with her three daughters and two sons.  Her late husband suffered from a prolonged debilitating illness—cancer. His condition meant he could not work, and he was bedridden until his death.

Her eldest son, Naino, suffers from kyphosis, a condition resulting in a spinal deformation. The 20-year-old is illiterate and is only able to find work as a farm labourer or as unskilled help on construction sites, even though physical work is difficult for him. After his father’s death, Naino became responsible for providing for his family, in addition to finding the money for his own medical care. But it was hard to find a job in general, let alone one that wasn’t too physically demanding.

Prema stands beside her goats. She and her family were able to invest in livestock with the help of the HERD project.

A glimmer of hope came when Prema and her family were selected for food assistance under the PWS&D-supported Humanitarian, Early Recovery, and Development (HERD) project. The first aid instalment allowed the family to feed mourners who came to grieve Prema’s husband’s death. While the assistance made this possible, it left the family out of cash and Naino was unable to purchase his medication.

PWS&D and Canadian Foodgrains Bank are supporting the HERD project implemented by our local partner, Community World Service Asia. This project is providing families like Prema’s with food packages, livestock and seasonal seeds for cultivation and training for farmers. In addition, women artisans are enhancing their embroidery skills and learning product development and marketing.

When Prema’s family received their second instalment of food aid, Naino was able to use the extra money that previously would have been needed to purchase food for his medicine.

Naino is hopeful for his family’s future, as the HERD project has given them the head start they need. He hopes to invest his savings in some goats. He explains that goats will result in a supply of milk and the possibility of selling the kids for cash.

This support not only helps families with vital aid in the immediate term, but also provides hope for a brighter future—whether they’re using what they have saved to invest in goats like Prema and Naino, or starting a business with the skills they’ve both developed and enhanced from the project.